How many dementia/Alzheimer sufferers had a major surgery within a few years of being diagnosed?

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This is my first post. I don't know if this has been discussed before. In my experience, dad and uncle have been diagnosed with Alzehimer's, both had open heart surgery within 2 years of diagnosis. Also, a friend and a friend's mother had major surgery before diagnosis. Are there studies with national statistics addressing this issue?

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If surgery and the associated anesthetia caused dementia, then you would see dementia among all who have had surgery - from those cardiac surgery to Csection births. That isn't the case. It's probably all the co-morbities of aging (loss of muscle tone, brain shrinkage, the breakdown of organs, years of chronic diseases, etc) that are so apparent after a surgery with their not being able to do things as they recover that makes dementia issues more noticeable.
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In 2007 my dad had surgery to place a stent in a blood vessel leading to his heart. Looking back, he had very mild signs of dementia prior to the surgery, but nothing really outstanding that would have led anyone to believe he had a problem. About six months after the surgery he began exhibiting very obvious symptoms. We were concerned that the meds he'd been placed on following surgery might be affecting him (7 or 8 meds for a stent placement, all we found had horrible side effects). He was taken off all meds except baby aspirin, even though we knew the doctor wasn't happy about it. Taking him off the meds didn't hurt him physically; but the symptoms grew and he began having hallucinations, etc. Within about a year and a half he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I truly believe that for someone who might be prone to dementia, surgery can accelerate the symptoms.
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My mother went into the hospital a woman who played bridge regularly and had a sharp mind. She came out of the surgery someone who thought people were after her. Her neurologist told me that he sees this all the time - that people who were at risk for dementia as a result of other factors prior to surgery, would end up with full blown dementia and/or the onset of Alzheimer's within 2 years of the surgery. I've read it is the type of anesthetic used which can exacerbate the condition.
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I just read about a study with mice concerning Post Surgical Cognitive Decline. There were mice that had an Alzheimer gene and mice that did not. In each group all mice were given anesthesia but only some also had surgery. Only mice who had the Alzheimer gene had cognitive decline, and those that had surgery had significantly more decline than those that had only the anesthesia. This suggests that it is the surgery itself and not specifically the anesthesia is what causes the decline (at least in mice).

A single study with mice does not prove anything, but this is very suggestive.

An autopsy of a brain with Alzheimer's shows characteristic tangles. A brain with Lewy Bodies shows clumps or "bodies." I've been wondering how surgery could create the tangles or clumps. It sort of makes more sense to me that they would have to be present before surgery (but not causing observable symptoms) and then something about the surgery experience stirs them up, so to speak. I sure don't know, but it is interesting that only the mice with the AZ gene experienced the decline.

You can read a summary of the mice study here, and there is a link to the full story: http://www.lbda.org/content/new-insights-post-operative-cognitive-decline

Each day I go to the mailbox eagerly hoping the results of my husband's autopsy will be there (although it is really too early --it has only been 2 months and it usually takes several months). It is really interesting (I think) to know what is physically going on in the brain. And exactly what causes each type of dementia is not only very interesting to us, but a huge major international research concern. If scientists know what causes dementia they have a better chance to treat it and to prevent it.

My husband donated brain tissue to research. We believe strongly in the value of research and hope some day each of the mysteries will be unraveled, one by one.

Until then, for each individual caregiver what really matters most is the symptoms our loved ones present, and how to treat them/cope with them/manage them.
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sharirose, your story about your husband pulled at my heart. I'm so sorry. Thanks so much for the information. I will definitely look up more about Post Surgical Cognitive Decline. I know there are many people that are diagnosed with D&A and have not had surgery but in all the cases I'm personally aware of, they did have surgeries. God Bless You.
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I would say look up Post Surgical Cognitive Decline you do not hear much about this. As far as saying that someone developed dementia and had no surgery that is the common circumstance but does not mean that people that have long surgeries may not be sensitive to the meds and soon develope Alzheimer's or dementia after surgery. If that were not so why would they have those explanations on Medical websites. I cannot remember the particular ones (no, I just cannot remember them at this time at night ) I believe there are several connections to developing D&A one would be stress, genetics,etc and I believe long surgeries may be connected. Like I said just a thought. God Bless
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Oh. And my mother also had not had any surgery prior to developing dementia.
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My husband had no surgery prior to developing dementia.
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In 2001 my mom had her appendix out. A few months later we noticed, as well as she did some mental decline. She was 63. She now has moderate Alzheimers. She, on her own quit driving at 65 because she would get confused AND said she lacked the reflexes to be safe.
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I know of 4 spouses of friends who have suffered the same results you mentioned after heart surgery. Two of them, the doctors later mentioned they might have had strokes. Another one had small cognative issues before and the fourth one's wife believes it was too much medication. It took my Mother several months to "come back" after her heart surgery. You just sometimes have to wonder how wise some of this surgery is for certain people.

God bless!
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